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3 Ways to Boost Your Marketing with Smartwatches and Wearable Technology

Man paying with wearable technology

While they’re not yet as ubiquitous as smartphones, smartwatches and other wearable technology are becoming increasingly common. To support this increased market use, Discover® Global Network enables Discover® cardholders to use select Garmin devices for tap and pay transactions through Garmin Pay. And this trend is predicted to continue. Last year, IDC released a report claiming that the wearables market will nearly double by 2021 from 125.5 million units in 2017 to an astonishing 240.1 million units.1 Despite this incredible growth, many businesses have failed to develop a viable strategy for incorporating wearable technology into their marketing.

Fortunately, this means there’s tremendous opportunity to break out from the competition. Below are three ways to use wearable technology to inspire your marketing and provide real value to your customers.


(1) Boost Your Location-Based Marketing – With GPS technology embedded in most smartwatches and other pieces of wearable technology as well as mobile devices, it’s never been easier to reach consumers precisely where they are through hyperlocal advertising. For example, you could send a push notification to a customer for 20 percent off their purchase the moment they walk in the door of your store.


Before you can market to a customer, however, they must first opt in to receiving notifications. To get them to jump over this hurdle, you have to make sure you’re providing real value. Consider how the customer’s smartwatch or other wearable device can work in a complimentary way to their phone. Whatever message you send must be read and understood in a glance for it to have an impact.


One luxury clothing store has driven customer engagement by embedding location sensors throughout its flagship New York City store that sync up with its app. It’s easy to imagine how adding push notifications to a smartwatch could further increase this engagement.


(2) Rethink Your Search Marketing – Wearable technology is all about convenience. Depending on the wearable, for example, rather than taking out their phone, a user can simply dictate and send a text message directly from their smartwatch. While it may seem straightforward, using your voice instead of your thumb is a big behavioral change that can impact how customers interact with your brand.


One area that merits particular attention is search marketing. Consider modifying your search advertising campaigns, as well as your website and landing page content, to optimize for voice searches that may use different words or phrasing than standard web searches.


Think, for instance, about how users interact with voice search, namely that they’re more likely to ask questions. As such, some companies have developed new FAQ modules on their websites that help to optimize voice search performance.


(3) Harness the Power of Emotion – With devices that can accurately measure heart rate, blood pressure and more, it’s no wonder that the biggest growth in wearable technology by far has been within the health and fitness category. But if you could discern a customers’ emotional state through these same physical indicators, you could turn that into some powerful marketing.


Admittedly, using this kind of information for marketing is still a ways off, and you’d have to be extremely careful about being respectful of how you engage customers, but it’s an extremely exciting idea. Researchers recently built a wearable application that can detect emotion in a conversation with 83 percent accuracy, which just goes to show how far along we are in using wearables to understand emotional responses.


As consumers become more and more comfortable transacting across different channels, there is an opportunity for retailers to interact with them at every stage of the shopping journey in order to drive greater loyalty with their brand. Wearables is one such way. A strong omni-channel strategy will leverage the power of each channel for their unique strengths, while maintaining a seamless experience for the consumer.


But whatever strategy you choose to pursue, it’s important to start testing now. Seeing what works today will give you a major head start in the future, so consider setting aside a separate advertising budget that you can use for experimentation. Once wearable technology goes fully mainstream, you don’t want to get left behind.



1 “Worldwide Wearables Market to Nearly Double by 2021, According to IDC,” IDC, June 2017.


The information provided herein is sponsored by Discover® Global Network. It is intended for informational purposes, and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.